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April 20 2012


Global insights into the mobile media revolution at ISOJ

The second session at International Symposium on Online Journalism focused on the impact of mobile and tablet.

A common theme was the need to tailor content for different mobile platforms to account for different audience needs and behaviours.

Pedro Doria, digital platforms editor, O Globo newspaper, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, started off by explaining how the company developed the iPad edition of the newspaper.

The iPad edition was based on understanding that readership on a tablet works differently from a news website, with reading mostly in the evening.

The iPad edition bundles news in brief, strong image, three or four long-form stories, some shorter articles and then cultural tidbits, and goes live at 6 p.m.

Before the iPad edition was launched in February, people would spend on average 26 minutes on the app.  After the revised evening edition was released, the average time went up to a hour and 17 minutes.

Impact of mobiles in Africa

Next up was Harry Dugmore, professor at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. He spoke about how the massive uptake of mobiles Africa had led some to hope the technology would help democracy flourish.

But, said Dugmore, we were wrong.

The technological environment in Africa has evolved, starting off with mobiles with small screens, slow speeds and sky-high subscriptions. This was still the situation in many places, with only one of every 100 phones in Africa being an iPhone.

The result was a focus on SMS services to keep people inform and in touch.

Mobile technology is moving towards better speeds, more competition and more powerful phones, said Dugmore. But costs are still high and net access can be intermittent.

Now, tablets and smartphones are starting to appear but are in a minority.

Some of the biggest changes, said Dugmore, have been the provision of free access to Facebook and Wikipedia on mobiles.  Facebook zero means anyone can access Facebook on a mobile, even if they don’t have any credit.

Twitter, too, Dugmore added, was emerging as a source for news, with two-thirds of Kenyans saying they get international news from Twitter.

CNN’s approach

Next up Louis Gump, vice president of CNN Mobile talked about the the mobile web as the hub of his unit’s business, with a portfolio of apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows and more.

CNN Mobile reached 19.5 million users in the US in February, with over 17 million apps downloaded across platforms worldwide. This compares to around 100 million people that CNN reaches overall on digital.

Gump said CNN made a decision to take some time to think about its iPad app and see what resonates with consumers.

He concluded by highlighting imperatives for success: having a first-rate mobile website, a range of core apps, employing mobile professionals and understanding that mobile is different.

Mobile in the Philippines

A different perspective came from JV Rufino, head of Inquirer Mobile and Books, Inquirer Group, Manila, Philippines.

He comes from one of the largest media groups in the Philippines.

Rufino explained that the Philippines was largely a TV market, but that most people have several mobiles.

One of the ways The Inquirer uses mobile is by sending ad-supported news headlines by SMS, but it also has a premium news alert SMS service.

Its mobile apps are also sponsored but have to work on older Nokia smartphones too, Rufino explained.

As with other media organisations, The Inquirer has developed a range of tablet apps as premium products.

Rufino explained how the company has collated its news articles as ebooks, including aggregating romance columns and producing court transcripts.


April 02 2011


Study into use of new devices for news

One of the research papers presented at ISOJ by Hsiang Iris Chyi and Monica Chadha, University of Texas at Austin looked at how people were getting their news on new devices.

The researchers suggested the idea of newsfulnews as a way of measuring the likelihood of a multi-purpose device being used for news, based on the number who use a device for news compared to total number of owners.

They conducted a web-based survey of a random sample of the American adult population in August 2010.

The researchers found that the laptop was far by the most useful for news at 45%, with the iPhone at 33% and iPad at 35%.

But they also found that 24% of people did not use any electronic device to get their news, with 57% only using one device, usually the PC.

Only 10% used two devices, with 8.5% using three or more per week.

There was little variation in the level of enjoyment across devices. The researchers suggested that this meant people preferred to use older devices such as the PC.

News use on multiple devices was not yet a reality, they said.



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April 01 2011


iPad lessons from The Daily

John Kilpatrick, vice president of design for The Daily, provided an inside look into the new iPad app at the ISOJ.

The Daily is a custom application with a custom content management system that was built from the ground up for product.

The idea is to be able to create custom experiences everyday, exploring what works and what doesn’t work, he said.

Kilpatrick explained that the experience of news on a tablet is difference from print or the web.

The Daily’s approach was not to be platform agnostic, but rather create something for a specific news experience on a specific device.

What we have created is a curated experience, said Kilpatrick. So it is digital, but not endless.

The approach at The Daily draws from broadcast, print and web, he explained. From broadcast, the lean back experience. From print, it’s finite, From the web, it’s interactive and connected.

But it also wants to avoid some of the pitfalls of other media, such as the overuse of breaking news in broadcast, PDF-style app from print and long scrolling pages from online.

The design team was drawn from the New York Times, AOL, Vogue, Live Nation, film production and more.

Kilpatrick ended by running through some of the editorial content, its advertising and its original use of video, and offering some insights.

He has found that people mainly use the iPad at night in the US and most people are connected when they are reading The Daily.

60% of readers view The Daily vertically and 40% horizontally.  But Kilpatrick also added that many shift orientation during usage. What this means is developing pages that work both ways.














Paul Brannan on news for mobile devices

Paul Brannan, emerging platforms editor, BBC News, gave some background on the development of the BBC iPhone/iPad news app at the ISOJ.

Talking about its development, he said he had huge ambitions for the app but very limited resources.

“The outcome is a far cry from the one I had hoped for,” said Brannan, who has just left the BBC. The app essentially repurposes content from the BBC News website.

What he wants, he said, is a dynamic news mechanism, that delivers everything.

He said he wanted a news service that was location aware and context aware, customisable and with media drawn from both journalists and user media.

Brannan highlighted how the new Sky News iPad app played to the strengths of the tablet format.

“It provides a decent, if limited, news experience,” he said.

But Brannan said Zite was the most interesting and innovative tablet app be has seen. Zite tries to learn about individual users through algorithms and semantic web.

Brannan compared this to how supermarkets gather amazing data about its shoppers.

Unfortunately Zite has received a cease and desist notice from large media companies.

Brannan concluded by talking about the BBC’s orchestrated media research. This involves figuring out how people use media across platforms and creating a consistent experience.

April 20 2010


State of the digital media universe in Canada

This comScore briefing on the digital media landscape in Canada has valuable data about what Canadians go online.

The presentation delves into social media, video and mobile.

(Via Newslab.ca)

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